Marine Navigation Equipment on Modern Ships (Part 2)

Blog | May 12th, 2020

In the past, we all know that ships don’t navigate the sea on its own. However, the development of navigation technology has made the voyages easier and convenient that it could pass off as machine-controlled. Know more about marine navigation equipment on modern ships below.

Long Range Tracking and Identification (LRIT) System

LRIT is an international tracking and identification system incorporated by the IMO under its SOLAS convention to ensure a thorough tracking system for ships of 300 gross tons and above which are on international voyages across the world. This maritime equipment is fitted to improve the maritime domain awareness.

Rudder Angle Indicator

Rudder angle indicator, as the name indicates, provides the angle of the rudder. The display is provided on the navigation bridge equipment console so that the ship navigation officer can control the rate of turn and rudder angle of the ship. The indication is also provided in the bridge wing and engine control room.

Voyage Data Recorder

A VDR or voyage data recorder is a crucial instrument among the ship navigation equipment list which is installed on a ship to continuously record vital information related to the operation of a vessel. It contains a voice recording system for a period of at least the last 12 hours. This recording is recovered and made use of for investigation in events of accidents. The importance of VDR is similar to a “black box” installed on an airplane.

Rate of Turn Indicator

This navigational tool indicates how fast the ship is turning at a steady rate (useful during pilotage and manoeuvring), normally shown as a number of degrees turned. The rate a ship is turning is measured in degrees per minute. This essential tool assists a coxswain in steering a course safely.

GPS Receiver

A Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver is a display system used to show the ship’s location with the help of Global positioning satellite in the earth’s orbit. With the record of the ship’s positions, the speed, course, and the time is taken to cover the distance between “two marked positions” can be calculated.

Sound Reception System

This acoustic system is required for a ship with a fully enclosed type bridge. It enables the navigating officer inside the cabin to listen to the sound signals (such as fog or ship’s horn) from other ships in the vicinity. This is fitted in ships bridge equipment console and helps the navigating officer to conduct the look-out duty as per the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Navigational Lights

All boats – whether big or small are required to have night lights as a part of the navigation systems. This system was introduced in the year 1838 by the United States and then was followed by the United Kingdom in 1849. In the year 1889, the International Maritime Conference was established by the United States to establish proper guidelines to prevent marine accidents. In the year 1897, these rules were officially adopted internationally. The navigation lights are one of the most critical navigation equipment needed for sailing in high seas as it enables self vessel being clearly visible to other ships in the vicinity.

Ship Whistle

A ship’s horn is known as a whistle and it is generally provided in duplicate. One is driven by air and the other is electrically operated. The whistle should be both manually and electrically operational from the bridge. Among different instruments used in difficult navigation such as bad weather, fog, poor visibility, high traffic etc., the ship’s whistle or horn helps in alerting the nearby vessels. During an emergency, the horn is used to notify and alert the ship’s crew and other vessels nearby.

Daylight Signalling Lamp

They are light-signalling devices used for emergency signalling in the day time (and can also be used during the night). Like other emergency ship instruments, the energy source for the lamp is not solely dependent on the ship’s main power supply. Also, the lamp enclosure should be weather and seawater- proof material.

Pilot Card

It is an informative booklet provided to the ship’s pilot. It consists of the dimension, draught, turning circle, manoeuvring, propulsion equipment and other navigation tools and instruments list of the vessel for safe manoeuvring.

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